I'm not really into sports. I like a little Rugby and I can get behind the Tennis whenever it's Wimbledon, but on the whole I tend to just forget about the sports world entirely. The less I say about Football the better. However, having said all that I do tend to get behind Formula 1 a bit. There's just something about the mix of state-of-the-art machinery and personal skill and guts that makes the whole thing worth watching. So with the latest F1 title having just been released for the end of the 2014 season, I thought I'd get my hands on and see what improvements have been made over the great many instances that have come before it.
Before anything else, the game makes a point of testing your capabilities. It will give you your first race and depending on your adeptness during the course of the track it will decide what best aides to give you for the rest of the game. Of course these can also be turned on and off at will, but it does ensure that you will start off at a difficulty level that is tailored to you and is neither too hard or too easy. For myself, as much as I love racing games, it did decide that I was better off with a displayed indicator for which lines to take into to each corner, as well as prompting when to accelerate and brake.
If this sounds too easy, then you'd be wrong. While the line the game will suggest around every corner is likely the best one, it is still your call whether you follow that advice or not, and personally I found myself just as much ignoring the game as much as doing exactly as it told me. Even on time trials though, this made the game highly addictive. I found myself repeating the course of each track, getting a rush whenever I got around the track just slightly faster or got round a bend at the perfect angle and perfect speed. When I got it wrong, the car would tell me by punishing me accordingly, either by spinning me out of control or by sending me into a wall, which in the end just made that same addiction kick in harder as I was forced to go around the track again just to get it right.
However, having said this it can not be denied that there is truly a big difference in the graphics. This is not a next generation game. It is in fact one of the final last bows of the previous, 360 and PS3 age, with no release planned for the Xbox One or PS4, but truth be told I'm hard pressed to tell it apart from the level of detailed offered in the next generation. Every track is faithfully recreated to every dimension and with everything accurate right down to the tyre marks on the road left over from previous races. At a glance, the cars themselves could even be straight out of real life. In all honesty, the visuals are spot on, and gloriously recreated. Even the changing weather of the F1 season is gloriously recreated with rain that will spatter the race camera and make it as hard to see where you are going as it would be for any of the car's real drivers. Perhaps it's merely the petrol head in me talking, but I would honestly go as far to say that this is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen.
Now, if I were to be completely honest, I cannot say that this is a game for everyone. If you are used to Need for Speed and enjoy the carefree, pick-up-and-play aspects of the game then this will not be fore you. But, having said that, if you are the sort who is actively looking to move on from that level of simplicity, this might just be the game for you. The F1 cars offer an extreme feeling of speed that keep your concentration fixed on the screen, while the difficulty can be changed to suit your needs. On the other hand, if you are a Formula One fan already then I can only say to get out and buy this game. Yes, it is true that these games tend to be very similar to one another, but there is something that is truly epic about this 2014 instalment. It is the very pinnacle of what the last generation can do, and above all else, you will find yourself after every race looking at your watch and saying "Just one more go..."
A game that truly makes it to pole position.
F1 may not be everyone's cup of tea but there's no denying a good driving game when we see one. As of next year, the 2015 edition of the game will be developed for PS4 and XBox One, but as we see this present generation to a close, it is nice to see the previous XBox and PS get one or two final great games all to themselves.
Have we tempted you at all with this title? Let us know in the comments below!